The Katzman automatic imaging telescope gamma-ray burst alert system, and observations of GRB 020813

Weidong Li, Alexei V. Filippenko, Ryan Chornock, Saurabh Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the technical details of the gamma-ray burst (GRB) alert system of the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) at Lick Observatory and the successful observations of the GRB 020813 optical afterglow with this system. KAIT responds to GRB alerts robotically, interrupts its prearranged program, and takes a sequence of images for each GRB alert. A grid-imaging procedure is used to increase the efficiency of the early-time observations. Different sequences of images have been developed for different types of GRB alerts. With relatively fast telescope slew and CCD readout speed, KAIT can typically complete the first observation within 60 s after receiving a GRB alert, reaching a limiting magnitude of ∼19. Our reduction of the GRB 020813 data taken with KAIT shows that unfiltered magnitudes can be reliably transformed to a standard passband with a precision of ∼5%, given that the color of the object is known. The GRB 020813 optical afterglow has an exceptionally slow early-time power-law decay index, although other light-curve parameters and the optical spectral index are fairly typical of GRBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-853
Number of pages10
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Volume115
Issue number809
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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